Senator Lindsey Graham: 'Impossible to Believe' Saudi Crown Prince Was Unaware of Khashoggi Killing

WASHINGTON — Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Sunday harshly condemned Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over his role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, calling him "unhinged" and pointedly refusing to work with the prince in the future, according to the NBC News.

"The fact that he didn’t know about it is impossible for me to believe," Graham said on Sunday's "Meet The Press." The South Carolina senator said he hasn’t been given an official briefing on the matter, but maintained that the conclusion that the crown prince had a role in Khashoggi's murder should be clear to anyone with knowledge about the country.

  “If he is going to be the face of Saudi Arabia going forward, I think the kingdom will have a hard time on the world stage,” Graham added. “They are an important ally, but when it comes to the crown prince, he is irrational, he is unhinged, and I think he has done a lot of damage to the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia and I have no intention of working with him ever again.”

Graham said he doesn’t want to let the individuals who carried out the killing to become “the fall guy,” but instead, “I am going to do whatever I can to place blame where I believe it lies: I am going to put it at the feet of the crown prince who has been a destructive force in the Mideast.”

US Senator Rand Paul Urges Trump to Cancel Saudi Arms Deal over Khashoggi Murder

Meantime, top Republican Senator Rand Paul said that US President Donald Trump should cancel arms deals with Saudi Arabia as a punishment over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to Press TV.

Khashoggi, a US resident who wrote for the Washington Post, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 after being lured into the mission for some standard paperwork.

While mounting evidence released by Turkey and even the CIA point to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in the murder, Trump has so far resisted calls inside Washington to hold him responsible.

In an attempt to ease the criticism, the US Treasury Department imposed economic sanctions on 17 Saudis involved in the murder on Thursday.

The sanctions came after the Saudi public prosecutor announced that five officials faced a possible death sentence in the case but exonerated bin Salman, also known as MBS.

“We need to punish who ordered this, who is in charge and really the only thing they understand over there is strength,” Paul told CBS News on Sunday. “I think they will see sanctions as weakness on the part of the president and if the president wants to act strongly he should cut off the arms sale.”

Referring to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent trip to Riyadh to discuss the Khashoggi case as well as the ongoing Saudi-led war on Yemen, Paul said Saudi Arabia’s insistence on “bombing civilian populations” had already proven the ineffectiveness of the Trump administration’s current approach.

During his maiden state visit, Trump went to Saudi Arabia last year where he signed a massive $110 billion arms deal with the oil-rich kingdom.

This is while Saudi Arabia and its regional allies, including the United Arab Emirates, have been using American and British weapons and intelligence to bomb Yemeni cities since March 2015, when Riyadh declared war to reinstate fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and destroy the Houthi Ansarullah Movement.

Trump: I don't want to hear Khashoggi tape

US President Donald Trump is still remaining non-committal about the possibility that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman lied to him when he denied involvement in the assassination of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

" I don’t know, you know, who could really know," Trump said on Fox News Sunday, when asked if he thought he had been lied to. "But I can say this: he’s got many people now that say he had no knowledge."

The president, who is in a $110 billion arms deal with the monarchy, further said he would not listen to the audio of Khashoggi’s killing provided to the CIA by the Turkish intelligence.

"We have the tape. I don’t want to hear the tape. No reason for me to hear the tape… because it’s a suffering tape," Trump said. "It’s a terrible tape… I’ve been fully briefed on it. There’s no reason for me to hear it."

The tape was reportedly shared with CIA Director Gina Haspel, who visited Turkey amid an investigation into the journalist disappearance after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month.

Turkish intelligence intercepts reportedly show that Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi mission in Istanbul on October 2, was murdered on a direct order from bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia.

Khashoggi had been there to obtain a document certifying he divorced his ex-wife.

Trump has already been shown evidence of the prince’s involvement in the killing, and privately he remains skeptical, an unnamed Trump aide told The Washington Post on Saturday.

H.M

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